By Justice Malapane

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Ms Nokuzola ‘Sisisi’ Tolashe as the new Minister of Social Development and Mr Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks as the Deputy Minister of Social Development.
  • Tolashe brings a rich history of political involvement and leadership in various capacities, including her recent role as Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities.
  • Hendricks, founder and leader of the Al Jama-ah party, has a deep commitment to activism and public service, promising to enhance Social Development efforts with his extensive experience and dedication.

Last night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his new Cabinet for the 7th administration. Among the key appointments are Ms Nokuzola ‘Sisisi’ Tolashe as the new Minister of Social Development and Mr Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks as the Deputy Minister of Social Development.

Ms Nokuzola Tolashe: Minister of Social Development

Ms Nokuzola Tolashe’s extensive career in public service includes her recent role as the Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, a position she held from 6th March 2023 until the end of the 6th administration. Her political involvement is long-standing, having served as a Member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature from 2002 to 2008 and as National Secretary General of the ANC Women’s League from 2008 to 2015. Currently, she is the President of the ANC Women’s League.

Tolashe has been a Member of Parliament since 2016, contributing to various committees, including the Portfolio Committees on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Labour, and Communications. She was also a board member of the National Development Agency (NDA), an agency of the department. After resigning from the National Assembly in 2018, she was elected the Executive Mayor of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality. In 2019, Tolashe returned to the National Assembly, serving on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Committee for Section 194 Enquiry. She also chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on the appointment of the Auditor-General in 2020.

Born, bred, and educated in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, Tolashe’s early involvement in student and youth movements led to her detention under different states of emergency during the apartheid era. Her activism continued through the United Democratic Front (UDF) in women’s, youth, and civic organisations. Despite being imprisoned for a total of five years during the 1980s, Tolashe’s spirit remained unbroken. Her experiences of harassment and torture only strengthened her resolve to fight for the liberation, emancipation, and empowerment of women.

Ms Nokuzola Tolashe’s journey from grassroots activism to high-level political leadership underscores her unwavering commitment to social justice and community development. As the new Minister of Social Development, she brings a wealth of experience and a steadfast dedication to improving the lives of South Africans, particularly women, youth, and persons with disabilities. Her appointment marks a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to build a more inclusive and equitable society.

Mr Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks: Deputy Minister of Social Development

Born and raised in District Six, Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks is the founder and leader of the Al Jama-ah party, the only Muslim political party to have secured a seat in the South African Parliament. A staunch Sunni, Mr Hendricks received his Aqeeda education from the esteemed Ulema. His introduction to politics came early, inspired by his activist mother, Gairooneesa Ally Hendricks, and his parents’ involvement in anti-apartheid activities.

Hendricks attended Chapel Street Primary School and Trafalgar High School. He earned a BA Hons degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), where he founded and edited the university’s first newspaper, “Unibel.” He was a founding member of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and was active in several community organisations, including the Majlis-us Shura Al Islami and the Forum for Black Journalists.

In his professional career, Mr Hendricks held roles as the National Industrial Relations specialist for Nestlé and as founder, director, and HR Director of MWEB, earning the 2002 Naspers award as “Pioneer of the Internet.” After retirement, he provided pro-bono work for trade unions, secured a provident fund for workers with disabilities, and taught at various educational institutions. He was also a founding member of Radio 786 and played a key role in securing its broadcast licence.

Hendricks served as a Councillor in Cape Town before becoming a Member of Parliament. He has been a dedicated member of several parliamentary committees, including:

  • Small Business Development
  • Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence
  • Labour and Employment (alternate member)
  • Health (alternate member)
  • Home Affairs (alternate member)
  • International Relations and Cooperation (alternate member)
  • Justice and Correctional Services (alternate member)
  • Standing Committee on Public Accounts (alternate member)

Hon. M.G.E. Hendricks has dedicated his life to activism, education, and public service, making significant contributions to his community and the country. His appointment as Deputy Minister of Social Development is a testament to his unwavering commitment and the positive impact he has had throughout his career. Hendricks brings a wealth of experience and profound dedication to his new role, promising to enhance the department’s efforts in addressing social challenges and promoting development.

The appointment of Hon. Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks as Deputy Minister of Social Development is a moment of pride and celebration. His journey from District Six to the corridors of power is an inspiration, highlighting his resilience, dedication, and unyielding spirit. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honour and look forward to the transformative impact he will undoubtedly have in his new role. His leadership and vision are poised to drive significant advancements in social development, benefiting communities across South Africa.

Together, Ms Nokuzola Tolashe and Mr Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks represent a powerful team dedicated to enhancing Social Development in South Africa. Their combined experience and commitment to public service promise a brighter, more inclusive future for the nation.


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